The Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund)—the national human services organization founded in 1882 to addresses the unique needs of people who work in performing arts and entertainment with services focused on health and wellness, career and life, and housing—accepted a check from singer-songwriter and actress, Debbie Gibson, for $81,000. Gibson, who recently appeared on the television game show Celebrity Name That Tune, awarded her winnings to the Actors Fund Home, a residence in Englewood, New Jersey, run by the Entertainment Community Fund. The Home offers assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care and short stay rehabilitation for people who have worked in the performing arts and entertainment community and their families.
A ceremony was held on Wednesday, November 15, where Gibson presented the donation surrounded by her family and staff at the Actors Fund Home. During the event, Gibson also took time to see the two commemorative bricks that were donated by her fans in her mother, Diane’s, honor and installed along the entryway at the Actors Fund Home.
“It is truly an honor to be able to give back to the place that took such great care of my mother,” said Gibson. “The services provided to the residents, and the caretakers’ personal investment in not only the residents but their family and friends as well, is what makes the Actors Fund Home live up to its award-winning status. My family and I are comforted to know the Fund and the Home exist for all of us in the entertainment industry.”
“We’re so grateful to Debbie for her dedication to the Actors Fund Home. We’re proud to be the trusted home of our residents, many of whom have dedicated their lives to bring people the arts and entertainment they love. Thanks to Debbie’s generosity, we’ll be able to ensure our residents continue to receive the compassionate care we provide every day,” shared Jordan Strohl, Executive Director of the Actors Fund Home.
The Actors Fund Home offers short-stay rehabilitation (open to the general public), as well as assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care services led by a top-notch, compassionate and experienced staff. The Home is accredited by Comfort Matters™, a philosophy, care practice and evidence-based program that improves the quality of care and quality of life for persons with dementia. The Home is also accredited by SAGE and proudly provides compassionate and truly person-directed care for all residents.
Once again, the Home just received the highest possible rating from US News & World Report of Best Nursing Homes for 2024. In addition, the Home has been recognized as one of America’s Best Nursing Homes in 2024 by Newsweek.
The Actors Fund Home provides superb health care and supportive services in an environment filled with warmth, charm, and a real community. Care and services are specially designed for residents’ social and recreational needs and provide exciting opportunities that enrich their lives every day, just as residents have enriched the lives of so many throughout the years within the arts and entertainment community. Residents include a range of entertainment professionals, from Broadway actors, television producers, jazz performers, directors, and a cast of many others.
If you or a loved one are interested in learning more about the Actors Fund Home, please visit actorsfundhome.org for more information.
The Entertainment Community Fund, formerly The Actors Fund, is a national human services organization that addresses the unique needs of people who work in performing arts and entertainment with services focused on health and wellness, career and life, and housing. Since 1882, the Fund has sought to ensure stability, encourage resiliency and be a safety net for those who shape our country’s cultural vibrancy. For more information, visit entertainmentcommunity.org.
The Glorious Corner
RYAN O’NEAL — For people of a certain age, Ryan O’Nea’sl portrayal of Harvard-preppy Oliver Barreett IV in 1970’s Love Story – who falls for working-class Radcliffe student Jennifer Cavilleri, was emblazoned forever in their minds. O’Neal passed Friday at 82 and left behind a rather tremendous body of work, from Peyton Place on TV, to Love Story; Paper Moon; Barry Lyndon; The Thief Who Came To Dinner; People I Know (with Al Pacino), The Driver; Irreconcilable Differences; Chances Are (with Robert Downey, Jr.) and What’s Up Doc with Barbra Streisand, on the silver screen. His output was somewhat jiggered. but boy, in each of his roles he showed a storied conviction. When I think about his roles right now, everyone reverberated with me. If you don’t believe me, watch Barry Lyndon again! Just superb!
His off-camera role was that of a wild hellion, perhaps most noted by his wooing and subsequent marriage to Farrah Fawcett, then riding her one-season arc on TV’s Charlie’s Angels. Together they had a son Redmond, who endured through his own personal tragedy.
Along with Warren Beatty, Robert Redford, Kurt Russell, and Burt Reynolds … O’Neal led the pack of leading men in the 70’s. I will miss him for sure. here’s a great tribute in the U.K.’s Guardian:https://www.theguardian.com/film/2023/dec/08/ryan-oneal-actor-tribute-love-story-paper-moon
HACKETT’S CIRCUS — (Via Prog) Steve Hackett has shared the first new music from his upcoming studio album, The Circus And The Nightwhale, which will be released through InsideOutMusic on February 16. Watch the new video for People Of The Smoke below.
“My new album kicks off with People Of The Smoke, where we’re thrown back in time to the smokescape of 1950 London,” Hackett tells Prog. “A baby’s scream becomes a steam train, black smoke invades everything and industry rules the day. This is the place where the album’s story begins…”
The Circus And The Nightwhale will be the first full-blown Hackett concept album since his 1975 solo debut Voyage Of The Acolyte, which followed Genesis’s 1974 grand double concept affair The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.
“The Circus And The Nightwhale is an album with a difference,” Hackett adds. “This time it is a story, based both literally and metaphorically on my life… It’s both faction and fiction, beginning in a gritty world of harsh reality, spinning off into a colourful and dark, weird metaphorical universe of wonder turned to terror, with an ultimately beautiful resolve.”
The album features Hackett’s touring band as well as a raft of guests including Amanda Lehmann and Big Big Train’s Nick D’Virgilio, Hugo Degenhardt return as guests on the drumstool, Benedict Fenner features on keyboards and Malik Mansurov on tar, with Hackett’s brother John once more on flute.
The Circus And The Nightwhale will be available on several different formats, including a limited edition CD and Blu-ray mediabook (including 5.1 Surround Sound and 24-bit high resolution stereo mixes), standard CD jewelcase, gatefold 180g vinyl LP and as digital album.
Here’s the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_iujNWzPL0
SHORT TAKES — Micky Dolenz on KTLA’s Countdown To 2024New Year’s Eve interviewed by Nikki Novak. Here’s Micky and Nikki. Thanks, Kimberly Cornell, for the photo. Speaking of Dolenz, his “Shiny Happy People” recording remains for a fourth week on the UK’s Official Physical Singles Chart, right behind Coldplay’s Xmas single.
Congrats… Brad LeBeau’s forthcoming Teardrops On The Dancefloor doc will include interviews with David Morales; Hex Hector; Maurice Joshua; Dave Aude; David Morales and Nicky Siano … all classic DJ’s … Kevin Costner and Jewel dating? Seems an odd pairing, but that’s why they do call it Hollyweird! … Great article from Ultimate Classic Rock on the much-missed Denny Laine: https://ultimateclassicrock.com/denny-laine-songs/?fbclid=IwAR0FJFlY5IIHcC6wwStnVQV5Azk2aV_FW2laG0do5E08bBb6aTDlWJ-9V1E … Big news coming from Yorkshire Publishing; currently riding high on the charts with Mark Bego’s Joe Cocker tome …
And: I’m not a huge Mark Maron fan, even though a colleague has been after me for years to listen to him
so I jumped in this week and listened to a podcast with Lou Adler. Lou Adler: Johnny Rivers; Sam Cooke; Monterey Pip; The Roxy; Carole King; ODE Records …a true legend. Maron was good, but seemed somewhat confused when he discussed Monterey and Herb … Alpert that it. Here’s it is: https://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episode-1484-lou-adler
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Sam Rubin; Alison Martino; Tobe Becker; Robert Funaro; Milicient Mifficiendo; Steve Walter; Richard Johnson; Jacqueline Boyd; Peter Abraham; Adrian Niles; Jeremy Long; Joel Diamond; Les Schwartz; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Robert Funaro; Anthony Noto; Adam White; John Weber; Randy Alexander; Jeremy Long; and CHIP!
Countdown to Christmas: A New Musical Song Cycle Well-Behaved Women
15 days to go! Every year people panic to find the perfect gift. We at T2C have been collecting idea’s all year long to bring you the perfect gift guide at all price levels. When you’re at the end of your rope trying to find the perfect Christmas present this year, come to this guide for some great suggestions.
I am always excited to discover a new exciting musical score. Concord Theatricals Recordings has just released a studio cast recording by award-winning composer/lyricist Carmel Dean called Well-Behaved Women.
I fell in love with Dean’s music in 2018, when she made her compositional debut with Renascence, produced by The Transport Company, which I also recommend putting on your theatre and music lovers list. This show won the Off- Broadway Alliance Award for best new musical. At the time Dean was 19
Well-Behaved Women Album Sizzle. View HERE.
This new album features Tony Award®-winning artists and Broadway stars, including Sasha Allen, Laura Benanti, Andréa Burns, Liz Callaway, Jenn Colella, Hannah Corneau, Melissa Rose Hirsch, Dee Hoty, Judy Kaye, LaChanze, Lindsay Mendez, Bonnie Milligan, Lauren Patten, and Pearl Sun, among others.
I am obsessed with “Ladies Of The Press,” featuring Jenn Colella. View HERE.
“Stay And Fight,” featuring Sasha Allen. View HERE.
“We Rise,” featuring the full ensemble. View HERE
This song cycle celebrating historic women who fought to make their voices heard. This powerful album is now available on streaming and digital platforms worldwide. Stream or download the album HERE.]
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Sarah Paulson
Broadway’s newest show Appropriate starring Sarah Paulson, at Second Stage’s Hayes Theatre nearly sold out their first week. The play, written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and co-starring Elle Fanning and Corey Stoll, opens December 18th.
Paulson has received an Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Awards in her three-decade career. She made her Broadway debut in 1994 as an understudy in Wendy Wasserstein’s The Sisters Rosensweig. She later took on the role of Tess Goode in the production. She returned to the stage in two other Broadway productions: 2005’s The Glass Menagerie (as Amanda Wingfield) and 2010’s Collected Stories (originating the role of Lisa Morrison). She also appeared in six Off-Broadway productions between 1994 and 2013, including Crimes of the Heart, Still Life,Colder Than Hereat the Lucille Lortel Theatre, Killer Joeat SoHo Playhouse, Talking Picturesat Signature Theatre andthe Pulitzer-nominated Talley’s Folly with Roundabout Theatre Company.
Paulson is perhaps best known for starring in nine seasons of Murphy’s American Horror Story, first appearing on the show in 2011. Her performances collectively earned nine Emmy Award nominations.
In 2023, after 10 years away from the New York stage, Paulson returns to Broadway as Toni in Appropriate, the Broadway-debut play of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.
A Monstrously Intense Double Bill from Playwright Daniel MacIvor at Factory Theatre Toronto
“Is this what you expected?” asks Henry. “Is this what I’m supposed to do?”
I had no idea what I was walking into, nor did I understand the historical aspects of this double bill of one-person shows that were being staged so magnetically on the two Factory Theatre stages. The significance lies in the contrasting unity and the way the two solo shows changed theatre when they first came into being so many years ago. Daniel MacIvor, a playwright, performer, and filmmaker, fills these two contemporary classics with sparks of phenetic energy, exuding tension and emotional complexities that resonate far beyond the single spotlight, and now, brought to life here at Factory, the gift is full-blown, exacting, and utterly enthralling.
With the 75-minute Monster, the one-man tense wonderment casts us deep into an electric darkness. Its first movement abandons us, forcing us to sink into the tension that bows down before us in the pitch-black void. We sit, wondering, feeling the electric discomfort well up inside, before a voice cuts through the blackness with a “Shhhhh,” “Has it started yet?” It’s a captivating bit of theatrical engagement, forcing a squirm to come compulsively over us, long before the lights come up on the magnificent Karl Ang (Tarragon’s Cockroach) giving us a master class of chaotic exacting intensity.
As directed with a fine eye to precise moments of dark intensity by Soheil Parsa (Factory’s Wildfire), Monster takes us through, around, and about a tale of tension, anger, and obsession where the ending is as fascinatingly unclear as its beginning. It seeps in from the edges with Ang transporting us through a series of characters and formulations that jump in and out of time and its ever-fluid construct. We are invited into a tense quarreling heterosexual couple’s scenario, filled to the electric frayed edges with passive-aggressive violence. It shifts around before us, led by the exacting and determined Ang, forcing us to lean and pay attention from an angle of curiosity and tension.
There is a young boy, meticulously well-embodied, as Ang does with every one of these complex characters, who is at first, fascinated, then obsessed with an impossibly vicious murder that was committed by the weird next-door neighbours down in the darkness of their basement. Ang takes us through the details, as only a young boy would, unflinching in his compulsive engagement with what happened and horrified/entranced with the act itself. We are also thoroughly obsessed, with him and the whole unraveling, wondering where this is all heading, and what it all means.
As written with an exacting purpose by the masterful MacIvor, the narrator of these stories is a wide-open Adam, who speaks directly to the audience. He draws us in, while keeping us nervous and unsure, giving off the impression of impartiality but not completely convincing us that there isn’t something dangerous lurking in the background. His calculated energy is mirrored and enhanced within the theatrical dynamic, brought forth precisely by the fine work of set, props, and lighting designer Trevor Schwellnus (Factory’s Armadillos) with a dynamic sound designed cleverly by Thomas Ryder Payne (Crow’s Bad Roads). The distinct and sharp reverberations are amplified and muffled, shouted in and whispered out. That sonic energy creates a chaotic realm of interactive intensity, with the movements of the expert Ang unleashing a menacing air of tight, muscular, thrilling proportions, never giving us a moment to relax before the ending pushes itself forward.
Karl Ang is detailed and spectacular in this intense unraveling, giving us exacting constructions of various characters, as he stays solidly center-stage in that sharp pool of light. The neon colors and tightness of the pool of light illuminate the darkness with intent, with Ang transforming himself with cutting definition, emphasized even more by the simplistic costuming by Allie Marshall (Factory’s My Granny the Goldfish). The outcome is razor-edged and distinct, elevating the topography effortlessly with a shift of his head, and a look in the eyes. His performance, with the gift of Parsa’s direction, pushes Monster into a completely entrancing and electric realm, exciting our senses and leading us out of the theatre mesmerized.
The overall effect is honed and powerful, and as fresh as I imagine it would have been back in 1998 when it was first performed at the duMaurier World Stage in Toronto. It faulted and stumbled a bit near the end, somehow missing the connective tissues by only a hair, here and there, but the monstrosity of humanity as a whole lingers within, seeping into our senses, and staying with us, deep under our skin, as we make our way out and up to the next MacIvor master class one flight up (and 45-minutes later).
“Cause I’m free, nothing is worrying me.“
Here Lies Henry is as spectacular, but quite the different beast, cut from a similar cloth but a very different fabric. Interestingly, it’s layered with another classic old song. In Monster, MacIvor played with the menacing sweet tendencies of “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” but in this other one-person beam of captive energy, Damien Atkins (Soulpepper’s King Lear), the central bright white light of Here Lies Henry, uncomfortably delivers to us the happy “…Sunny Side of the Street” as he moves around the broad main stage of Factory Theatre thrilling us with a very different kind of tense complication.
Timed to perfection, a slice of white light and dramatic cueing delivers a hurried Atkins to us. We feel his vibrating discomfort in every pore of that wide nervous face and expressive body and eyes. Atkins unpacks his character with a very different electricity, created from a place of anxious engagement and discombobulation. He has an overwhelming sense of theatrical flourish, singing and trying with all his might to engage, with hand puppet gesturing and scattered, stilted jokes that fail to find the punchline, as if he is completely desperate to get us on his side, for some unknown reason.
He’s that guy that we all feel for but dislike being corralled by at a party. His intense need to connect fills us with a pushing-away discomfort and anxiety, even as we are drawn into his circular thinking and repetitive entertainments. He tries to tell funny stories, with a setup centered around a salad bar at a vegan convention, but then, his anxiety gets the best of him, unnerved by the idea that he might have offended any vegans in the audience.
“Is this what you expected?” he asks. “Is this what I’m supposed to do?”
He’s an optimist he tells us, and as we internally question that description, he also unpacks another item, that any optimist is also a liar, as there is no way to be one and not the other. He also teases out the idea of a dead body in the other room. He doesn’t tell us who, but we begin to put some of the pieces together. Is the title a reference to his compulsive act of lying or is it a reference to the body that is doing exactly that in the other room? Or maybe it is a bit of both, or a lot of both. He is, in fact, dressed like a corpse caught trying to escape his own funeral and coffin, thanks to some fine work done by wardrobe stylist Allie Marshall. Atkins completely hypnotizes us with his skill, his unwavering talent, and his taxonomy list of lies, one through seven, starting with the clever “just kidding” quip to the highly problematic pathological lie, and ending with the universal one, which is the concept of time, a dynamic framing that gives people hope, something he has little of.
The unmistakable brilliance of the piece is revealed inside Atkins’ skilled portrayal of this desperate man, as he unravels his possible truths before us, pulling at us to enter his domain while keeping us vibrating at arm’s length with his projected anxiety. His mother is a fried egg sandwich, he tells us, and his father is a cigarette pack of specificity. He distracts his vulnerability with some wild dance moves, something that Atkins revels in, and as directed with clarity and comedic brilliance by Tiwiah M’Carthy (Obsidian/Canadian Stage’s Fairview), the personality portrayal is delivered almost perfectly, energized with a nervous self-exposing cycle of existential destructive self-preservation.
Together the two pieces find energy and excitement in their tense unfolding. It’s a master class of one-person acting, directing, and writing, that must be seen and felt to fully understand the power that a one-person show can bring. Don’t miss this electric gift and exciting opportunity, courtesy of Factory Theatre, Toronto. MacIvor’s magnificent Monster and the equally profound Here Lies Henry are just too delicious and disturbing to ignore.
For tickets and information: https://www.factorytheatre.ca/
For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com
Jane Austen In The Catskills, An Interview
Laura Cable is a machine. An actress with an immense amount of power, she carries herself with poise and a heartfelt passion for her work. Her determination and high bar for excellence came in handy when she was offered the lead part in the Jane Austen-inspired romantic comedy Miss Bennet: Christmas At Pemberley at Shadowland Stages in The Catskills. There were only two weeks of rehearsal before its first preview. A fast and furious process, to be sure.
Intensity notwithstanding, the play, written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, Pemberley marks Cable’s return to Shadowland Stages (she appeared earlier this year in a production of 39 Steps).
“There’s an artistic energy and support that is so unique to Shadowland Stages,” she says. “I love it here.”
Directed by Shadowland’s Artistic Director Brendan Burke, Pemberley centers on the bookish and musically-inclined middle Bennet sister, Mary. The play sets her up as eclipsed by the likes of charming Jane, vivacious Lydia, and headstrong Lizzie. She may be the one with the greatest intellect, but still, she’s fighting to find her place in the world. She’s socially uncomfortable. She doesn’t fit in. However, during a family Christmas jaunt at the famed Pemberley estate, an unexpected guest surprises Mary in ways she never thought possible.
What is your dressing room must-have?
LAURA CABLE: Wide open space! When you spend a considerable amount of your career as an understudy and a swing, you get in the habit of getting in and out of makeup/wigs/costumes very quickly. So, I tend to be in and out of the dressing room like a flash. And, you’re more likely to see a completely empty dressing room station until half-hour for me than one of the more well-decorated stations.
Pemberley marks a return to Shadowland for you. What drew you back?
LC: The moment I started rehearsals for 39 STEPS this summer, I immediately felt at home. This is a community that loves its theatre and the artists who make it. The team here maintains such a fun and light-hearted rehearsal atmosphere that you feel brave to make bold, ridiculous choices. So, when this call came in, it was the rehearsal room energy that made me say an immediate yes. And secondly, it was the role of Mary herself. I have a soft spot for middle sisters who get overlooked in large, boisterous families. The fact that Mary Bennet, the quintessential forgotten middle sister, gets her own Christmas romance story? I couldn’t resist!
Why do you think Jane Austen’s work is still so resonant?
LC: As many aspects of life become more casual in 2023, I think part of our collective unconscious longs for that formality of days gone by. Sure, yoga pants are more comfortable than corsets, but what we lose in the process is the sense of occasion. That going to this dinner downstairs in your own dining room is worthy of a gown. That meeting this gentleman is worthy of a bow and a curtsy. Jane Austen’s characters allow us to go back to that sense of occasion from the comfort of our own homes.
Tell me about your interpretation of Mary Bennet.
LC: Mary is unapologetically herself. She is an intelligent, quick-witted dreamer who longs for a large life in an era when women were trained to make theirs very small. While she learns quite a bit about herself throughout the journey of the play, she never compromises one bit of who she is to find love.
What have Gunderson and Melcon brought to her that strikes you?
LC: They’ve made Mary ever-so human. She has a raging temper, a sharp tongue, and an entire family of married sisters watching as she faces some of the most intimate vulnerable moments of her life. The writing is rich and raw. It’s a great deal of fun to act.
How have you reconciled what Austen wrote about Mary with what they’ve added?
LC: I love it! What they’ve done is not in contradiction to Austen so much as it is giving a character with very little backstory a fully realized story.
What is the actor’s job?
LC: To tell the story. It’s that simple.
What is something about the industry that you wish was different?
LC: I wish there were more repertory theatre companies where a group of actors can work and grow together for long periods of time. There’s something thrilling about meeting a new group of cast mates every few months as you book a show. But, working with the same group of actors that you love and trust—maybe for years on end—would be a true dream come true. You really can’t replicate the onstage chemistry of people who have fabulous offstage chemistry.
The holidays are in full swing now. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
LC: I love so many things about the holidays! And New York goes crazy for Christmas. I love the lights in Dyker Heights, ice skating at Bryant Park, and admiring the Rockefeller Center Tree. In my own apartment, I love the glow from my Christmas tree with a fun holiday movie on TV. It’s really not Christmas without IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, A MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL, or WHITE CHRISTMAS!
Miss Bennet: Christmas At Pemberley is in performance Dec 1-17 at Shadowland Stages in Ellenville, NY. To purchase tickets, visit https://shadowlandstages.org
For more information about Laura Cable, visit lauracable.com
For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com
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